Assuming that your device is new enough to make the upgrade, is it a good idea to update iOS on your iPhone or iPad and install iOS 10?

In the pro category, a new version of iOS will bring a bunch of new features.

iOS 10's new features

Alongside general performance enhancements and security updates, iOS brings with it a number of cool features. These include a completely overhauled Messages app, refinements to Apple Music, Apple Maps, the introduction of Memories to the Photo app, and some other nips and tucks across the system.

Check out iOS 10 vs iOS 9 for a direct comparison between iOS 10 and its predecessor.

The iOS 10.3 update added a few more features to the table:

  • Find My iPhone features for AirPods
  • Wider third-part Siri support (checking bills in payment apps, scheduling journeys in ride-booking apps, IPL cricket scores and more)
  • Updated CarPlay interface
  • Various other tweaks and bug fixes

You can keep up with the iOS version history here.

Will updating iOS slow down my device?

Are there any reasons why you wouldn't upgrade to iOS 10? Is there any danger it will make performance worse? Read next: How to speed up a slow iPad

First of all, bear in mind that upgrading iOS tends to be essentially a one-way journey. It's always extremely hard (if not impossible) to go back to the previous version afterwards, so be sure you want to do this before starting the upgrade process.

So you'll probably be stuck with the new OS if you update. But are there any actual down sides in the way iOS 9 will work?

Partly this depends on whether you're interested in the new features provided by iOS 10, and you can read more about those in our iOS 10 review. But it also depends on which device you've got. We'll divide this section of the article into three: those who have old iPhones and iPads that only just make it on to the list of compatible devices; those with relatively recent iPhones and iPads; and those with a brand-new iPhone or iPad.

Older devices: iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPad 4, iPad mini 2

The main thing to worry about here is speed.

While Apple always works on streamlining iOS and making sure it runs smoothly, it has to be said that recent updates have slowed down iPhones and iPads near the older end of the list of compatible devices. iPhone 4s owners were not impressed when iOS 8 noticeably slowed down a lot of their devices, for example, and while this appeared to be a less common problem with iOS 9, we'd still advise caution.

Googling the name of your device and iOS 10 together is a good way to see what others users have experienced. If possible you could also try to find someone else running the same hardware with iOS installed and see how they got on - has their device slowed down at all?

Here's what we've seen first-hand:

  • iPhone 5 - runs well on iOS 10 with little in the way of slowdown. Whether this changes as newer iterations of iOS are released will be something we keep an eye on.

How to get iOS 10: Should you upgrade iPhone 5c to iOS 10?

Medium-age devices: iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus, either iPad Air model, iPad mini 3 or 4

It's not guaranteed, but these devices generally seem to be okay running the new software.

We can confirm first-hand that the following devices are fine with iOS 10:

  • iPhone 5s - runs fine
  • iPhone 6 - runs fine

iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro and later, and sixth-gen iPod touch

As previously mentioned, it'll be hard to downgrade back to iOS 9 once you make the jump. But there's really no reason not to make the upgrade if you've got a very recent device. These will easily be able to handle the processor demands of iOS 10, and iOS 10 doesn't include any significant graphical changes to annoy you, as happened with iOS 7.

(When iOS 7 launched, many users were horrified by the radical graphical redesign, which took a while to get used to and still annoys a minority of iPhone and iPad owners. That year we advised people to spend time with borrowed iOS 7 devices if they could, and see if they got used to the look of the OS after a week or two - generally interface changes feel earth-shattering at the time, then before you know it you can't remember how it used to look.)

We can confirm first-hand that the following devices are fine with iOS 10:

  • iPhone SE - runs fine
  • iPhone 6s - runs fine
  • iPhone 6s Plus - runs fine
  • iPad Pro 12.9 - runs fine

Conclusions

If your iPad or iPhone is up to it (and really up to it - not just officially rated as iOS 10-compatible), you should probably update. Even if you don't care about the new features, the boring stuff - such as bug fixes and compatibility with new apps - is important.

But take the decision carefully, because you probably won't be able to go back.

See where your iPhone or iPad sits on the chart of compatible devices above. If it's only just new/powerful enough to run the new OS, you need to find out if there will be any speed problems. See how people with the same model as you get on.

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